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Allen & McKenzie

Allen & McKenzie

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Enhanced UV exposure on a ski-field compared with exposuresat sea level
Martin Allen
and Richard McKenzie*
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Canterbury, Private Bag4800, Christchurch, New Zealand 
National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, Lauder, PB 50061, Omakau, Central Otago, New Zealand 
Received 17th December 2004, Accepted 22nd March 2005First published as an Advance Article on the web 4th April 2005
Personal erythemal UV monitoring badges, which were developed to monitor the UV exposure of school children,were used to measure UV exposures received by one of the authors (MA) at the Mt Hutt ski-field, in New Zealand.These were then compared with measurements taken at the same times from a nearby sea level site in Christchurchcity. The badges were designed to give instantaneous readings of erythemally-weighted (
, “sun burning”) UVradiation and were cross-calibrated against meteorological grade UV instruments maintained by the NationalInstitute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA). All skiing and calibration days were clear and almostexclusively cloud free. It was found that the UV maxima for horizontal surfaces at the ski-field (altitude
2 km) were20–30% greater than at the low altitude site. Larger differences between the sites were observed when the sensor wasoriented perpendicular to the sun. The personal doses of UV received by a sensor on the skier’s lapel during two daysof skiing activity were less than those received by a stationary detector on a horizontal surface near sea level. Theexposures depended strongly on the time of year, and in mid-October the maximum UV intensity on the ski-field was60% greater than in mid-September. The UV exposure levels experienced during skiing were smaller than the summermaxima at low altitudes.
1 Introduction
Ambient intensities of erythemally-weighted (
, “sun burn-ing”) UV radiation
are relatively high in New Zealand.
Peakvaluesoccurinsummerwhenozonevaluesarerelativelylowandwhen solar elevations are highest. During spring, UV intensitiesare significantly lower: firstly, because solar elevations are lowerand secondly, because ozone levels are relatively high. The largescale ozone losses in Antarctica occur well to the south of thecountry, and their influence is seen in New Zealand only later inthe spring, or in the summer months when ozone-poor air canmove over the region after the break-up of the ozone hole.
UVintensitiesarehighestinthenorthofthecountryduringsummer,and are lowest in the south of the country during winter.
Studies of UV radiation in mountainous areas have beencarried out in Europe since the 1960s.
More recently, severalgroups in different continents have investigated the detaileddependence of UV radiation on altitude. These studies haveshown the altitudinal gradients depend on the wavelength of the radiation, the solar elevation, tropospheric pollution (fromozone and aerosols), surface albedo (from snow, and cloudsbelow the observation point), and surface topography.
Oversnow-coveredsurfacesinparticular,theintensityoferythemally-weighted UV can increase appreciably with altitude.Activities such as skiing can therefore significantly increaseourexposuretoUVradiation.Onemitigatingfactoristhatmostof thebodyis covered. Against that though,the exposureperiodcan be relatively long on skin that may have been unexposedto harmful UV for several months over the winter period.Furthermore, unlike the usual situation where the UV doseis heavily dominated by downwelling radiation, for exposureson ski-fields the upward component may be comparable withthe downwelling component.
Consequently, body-sites thatare normally well protected (
, under the chin or nose) may beexposedtomuchlargerlevelsofUVthanareusuallyexperiencedin summer. At higher altitudes, enhancements in downwellingUV arising from increased reflectivity are smaller than theywould be at lower altitudes because Rayleigh scattering is lessimportant at the lower atmospheric pressures. However, forirradiances incident on inclined surfaces, reflections from thesnow can lead to large increases.Here we use data from personal erythemal UV monitoringbadges that have recently been developed, to compare the UVexposure of a skier with that near sea level at the same times.We then compare the exposures on the ski-field with thoseat the peak of summer throughout New Zealand. To ourknowledge this is the first study of its kind to investigate suchdifferences in real time-resolved personal exposures rather than just irradiances on a horizontal plane. Further, most previousstudies of UV increases with altitude have been carried outat locations where sea level UV intensities are lower, andwhere the concentrations of tropospheric aerosols and ozoneare larger.
The data obtained provides a useful baseline formore comprehensive measurements, which are currently beingundertaken with sets of similar detectors, in behavioural studiesof UV exposure involving school students in New Zealand(Wright
et al.
, manuscript in preparation, 2005).
2 Measurements
This study makes use of UV data from two sources. The first isfrom the UV monitoring badges, which were designed to mea-sure personal erythemal UV exposure. The badges are miniatur-ized battery-powered UV detectors that contain on-board datalogging capability. Their design and construction details will bedescribed elsewhere (Allen, manuscript in preparation 2005).These electronic detectors have several advantages over poly-sulfone film which has been used previously in UV exposurestudies. They are re-useable; their response is linear withexposure (rather than logarithmic); and they do not suffer fromshort term saturation issues. Furthermore, they have a higherdata sampling rate, which is necessary in this case to quantifythe increased UV exposure whilst engaged in a realistic physicalactivity, such as skiing. Because these UV monitoring badges
      D      O      I
     :       1       0  .       1       0       3       9       /       b       4       1       8       9       4       2       f
This journal is 
The Royal Society of Chemistry and Owner Societies 2005 
P h o t o c h e m . P h o t o b i o l . S c i .
, 2 0 0 5 ,
, 4 2 9 – 4 3 7
4 2 9
Table 1
Details of measurement sitesLocation Sensor Latitude/
S Longitude/
E Altitude/mAuckland (Leigh) Biometer 501 36
5 175
0 30Wellington (Paraparaumu) UVB-1 40
9 175
0 5Mt Hutt ski-eld AlGaN 43
5 171
5 2080Christchurch UVB-1 43
5 172
6 30Lauder Central Otago UVB-1 45
0 170
0 370Invercargill RB meter 46
4 168
3 5
are new, we provide some information here about their con-struction and performance. UV radiation is detected usingSchottky photodiodes, fabricated by SVT Associates Inc, USA,from aluminium gallium nitride (AlGaN) ternary alloys. Thepercentage of Al can be controlled, allowing the responsivity of the photodiodes to be varied across the whole UV spectrum.AlGaN photodiodes fabricated with an Al content of 26%were used in this study. These, according to data publishedby the manufacturers,
have a spectral response that closelymatches the erythemal action spectrum, combined with greaterthan four orders of magnitude rejection of visible and infra-red radiation. There is no need for additional filtering, and asa result we expect that their temperature dependence will beless than for other sensors, which use combinations of broaderband detectors together with interference filters. The actualtemperature response is discussed later. Signals are sampledto 10-bit accuracy, and stored in EEPROM memory. Thephotodiode and electronics are encapsulated in a weather proof casemadefromshapedPTFEtoprovideagoodcosineresponse.The diameter of the package is 35 mm, and the thickness is13mm.Becauseofitssmallsizeandweightitcanbeconvenientlypinned to apparel for use as a personal UV exposure monitor.We demonstrate below an excellent calibration against ameteorological grade instrument at the start of the field workandimmediatelyafterthefieldwork,andweinvestigatepossibletemperature dependences. In this study the UV monitoringbadges were configured to record instantaneous UV readingsevery 8 s. At this sampling interval, approximately 14 days of data can be stored. At the end of each day’s observations, datawere downloaded to a computer for further analysis. Becausemost fluctuations in UV (
, due to changes in cloud cover)have periodicities longer than the 8 s sampling interval, the datacan be integrated to provide an accurate measure of the dailydose of UV.Theseconddatasourceisfromcommercially-availablebroad-band instruments that are designed to continuously measureerythemally weighted UV radiation. The primary comparison iswith an instrument located in Christchurch, which logs dataat 10 min intervals. This instrument is a second-generation“Roberston–Berger” (RB) meter,
model UVB-1 manufacturedby Yankee Environmental Systems (YES), and it is owned,operated and calibrated by NIWA.The results are expressed in terms of the UV index (UVI),which is an internationally-agreed measure of the erythemally-weighted UV radiation incident on a horizontal surface.
One unit of UVI corresponds to 25 mW m
of erythemally-weighted UV radiation. In the case of the UV monitoring badgereadings,therewillbedeviationsfromtheusualdefinitionofUVindex because the badge orientation is generally not horizontalwhen worn by a person.In this initial study, the NIWA instrument was used as areference calibration standard and the UV monitoring badgeswere used to investigate: (1) differences between the doses ona horizontal surface and on a badge pinned to the lapel of the subject, and (2) differences in UV exposure on a ski-fieldcompared with a near sea level location.The two sites for the comparison are Christchurch city andtheMtHuttski-field,whichisthesamelatitudeasChristchurch,but is 90 km west, and 2 km higher.The UV intensities are also compared with those measurednear sea level at other sites in New Zealand. Details of all themeasurement sites are shown in Table 1.
3.0 Calibration of UV monitoring badges
3.1 Regression analysis
The personal UV monitoring badge used in this study wascalibratedbycomparisonwithmeasurementsfromtheRBmeteratChristchurch,whichisoperatedbyNIWA.Inturnthatinstru-ment is cross calibrated annually against a spectroradiometer atLauder whose calibration is maintained by reference to lampswhose outputs are traceable to the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).Cross-calibrations between the badge and the RB meter inChristchurch were carried out on one clear day near the start of the measurement campaign (15 Sept, 2003), and two clear daysimmediately after the campaign (16 and 17 Oct, 2003), whichwere cloud free. The range of solar zenith angles (SZA) includedin these calibrations was similar to that during the ski-fieldcampaign. Because the RB meter logs data at 10 min intervals,the badge data were averaged similarly for these calibrations.During the latter two days, the badge was pointed directlytowards the sun at regular intervals to assess the importanceof orientation. Data from these periods were omitted from theregressionanalysis.Thedatashowtheexcellentcross-calibrationaccuracy for a range of SZA, and the seasonal change in UVovertheperiodofthestudy.Theresultsoftheregressionanalysisare shown in Fig. 1.There are slight differences in the regression curves betweenthe three calibration days, but over the range of conditionsencountered in this study the simple regression relation in eqn.(1) was derived:UVI
(1)The near-linearity of the regression curves, and the repeata-bility from day to day indicate that the spectral response andcosine response of the detector are adequate for the purposes of the present study, which is limited to SZA in the range 35–65
.There is some evidence for a higher regression slope on thefirst day. The reasons for this are not yet understood fully. Itis possible that local gradients in UV could contribute to thesedifferences because the badge was located on the roof of aneight storey building approximately 2 km from the RB meter.In the winter period, strong inversion layers can build up inthe city, but this would tend to have a greater effect on the RBmeter. We verified that the difference is not due to a temperaturecoefficient in the data (see below). We also tried regressing thebadge data against model calculations, and RB data againstmodel calculations. In each case there were similar differencesin regression slopes between days, and this indicates that thebadge performance is at least comparable with the research-grade RB instrument. One possibility, which has not yet beenfully explored, is the effect of a slight mismatch between theinstrumentresponse
SucherrorswouldresultindifferencesthatdependonSZAandozone.For the purposes of the present study, this is not important sincethe ozone amounts and SZAs at both sites during the campaign
4 3 0
P h o t o c h e m . P h o t o b i o l . S c i .
, 2 0 0 5 ,
, 4 2 9 – 4 3 7
Fig. 1
Regression plot for the calibration data at Christchurch. Badgecalibration data with quadratic fits through the origin (10 min means,with normal incident data removed).
were similar to those on the calibration days. The estimated 2
uncertainty, relative to the reference instrument, resulting fromthis approximation in eqn. (1) is
3.2 Temperature dependence
Possible temperature dependences of the UV monitoring badgewere investigated in two ways.Firstly, during the calibration periods, we recorded theambient temperatures at 10 min intervals at the calibrationsite. The ranges of temperature during all of the badges mea-surements discussed are shown in Table 2, which also includesinformation about the ozone amounts and minimum SZA onthe observation days. In the regression analysis we included aterm to allow for temperature-dependence in the badge output.Becausethetemperaturerangewasrelativelysmall,wewereabletoconfirmonlythatthetemperaturecoefficientmustbelessthan0.5% per
C.Because the temperature difference between calibration con-ditions and mountain conditions is larger than the range of temperatures available for calibrations, we carried out a furthercheck of the temperature stability. Under clear sky conditionsat Christchurch on 9 June 2004 from 12.20 to 12.40 NZST,the UV monitoring badge, which had been stored in a fridge atapproximately8
Cfortwohours,wasplacedonahotplatewitha large thermal mass, pre-heated to approximately 80
C, whichwas then placed in the sun and allowed to return to ambienttemperature. By heating the whole badge in this manner weinclude any temperature coefficient of the electronics as well asthe sensor. Model calculations showed that any change in UVintensity over the period of measurement was less than 1%. Theresults were as follows.Ambientbadgereading(fullscale1024counts):73
2countsBadge reading after 10 min on the hot plate: 78
2 counts.Thus, even with this extreme change in temperature, thechange in output was relatively small: 7
3%. The ambienttemperature at the observation time varied from 9.5
C to10.2
C. If the badge reached 80
C, the temperature coefficientwould have been
0.1% per
C. In reality, the real equilibriumtemperature would be intermediate between the ambient airtemperature and the plate temperature. Based on these resultswe estimate that the temperature coefficient should be less than0.3% per
C.The temperatures at Mt Hutt are at most 15
C lower thanduring the calibration period. Based on the above sensitivitytests, we estimate that the observations at Mt Hutt may beunderestimated by up to 5%.
3.3 Cosine response
The angular response of the UV monitoring badge was mea-suredat Lauderusingaquartz-halogenlamp at adistanceof 1.3m. We found that it showed a reasonable approximation to thecosine response. For incident angles up to 30
, it underestimatesthe true cosine response by up to 5%. The error is largest at 60
,where it underestimates the true response by 12%. For largerangles the error reduces and at 80
the error is less than 5%.Although these response figures do not represent the state of theart, they are comparable with those of several research gradeUV instruments,
and they are significantly better than somecommercially-availableUVdetectors.Inthepresentapplication,where the instrument orientation is non-horizontal in a snow-covered, mountainous area, the effects of any errors in cosineresponse become more important.
3.4 Directional effects
Unlike previous studies of the effects of altitude and snow cover,the present study investigates the effects on personal exposuresfor a sensor located on the skier’s lapel. Individual UV badgereadings, which have arbitrary orientation, will be designated asUVI
. In this case, the peak UVI readings correspond to timeswhen the badge orientation is normal to the sun. These will bedesignated UVI
.During calibrations at Christchurch, the dosimeter badgewas generally positioned to measure the irradiance falling ona horizontal surface. To quantify the difference between UVI ona horizontal surface with that normal to the sun, the badge wasoccasionally re-positioned to point directly towards the sun onthe16October,resultinginhigherdatapoints,asshowninFig.2.Theratio(UVI
/UVI)oferythemalUVradiationonasurfacenormal to the sun compared with that on a horizontal surfacehas been measured previously at Lauder,
and the results areshown in Fig. 3, along with the corresponding measurementsfrom the calibration sequences at Christchurch.
Table 2
Minimum SZA, ozone amounts, and temperatures during all measurement periods with the UV monitoring badge. For Mt Hutt, the firstvalue is for the base altitude, and the second value (in parentheses) is for the top of the ski-field. Ozone values were from the NASA E-P TOMSsatellite instrumentTemperature at selected times (NZST)/
CDate (and day), 2003 Site SZA
Ozone/DU 09:00 12:00 15:0015 Sept (258) calibration 1 Christchurch 47.1 364 6.5 12.9 14.112 Sept (255) comparison 1 Christchurch 48.3 361Mt Hutt 48.3 345
0.7 (
4.1) 6.7 (
4.3) 4.2 (
3.7)15 Oct (288) comparison 2 Christchurch 35.5 356Mt Hutt 35.5 353 2.6 (1.8) 9.9 (4.4) 9.4 (5.8)16 Oct (289) calibration 2 Christchurch 35.2 379 10.9 14.1 15.117 Oct (290) calibration 3 Christchurch 34.8 385 16.6 14.6 13.6
P h o t o c h e m . P h o t o b i o l . S c i .
, 2 0 0 5 ,
, 4 2 9 – 4 3 7
4 3 1

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